The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah, has told a meeting of European, Caribbean and African Members of Parliament that no one will pass resolutions that impose presidential term limits on Uganda.
He said Uganda’s Constitution has mechanisms through which political power can change hands and that the Constitution was the ultimate will of the people of Uganda which non-Ugandans should not undermine.
Oulanyah made the remarks as the Committee on Political Affairs resumed consideration of a motion on a resolution on constitutional limits for presidential terms on Friday, 16th December 2016 in Nairobi Kenya.
The Committee is part of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Parliamentary Assembly.
The proposals for presidential terms limits are being advocated by Members of the European Parliament with support from some Members from the ACP.
Oulanyah advocated for the dropping of the whole motion on term limits following concerns that these were being dictated by the European Parliament.
He added that despite the fact that the Motion was agreed on by the ACP in its earlier stages, it was possible to have it dropped all together at this point.
“A thinking human being has a right to change his mind. We are not bound by any precedent. We can’t sit here and do what is not right for us,” Oulanyah stated.
There was a heated debate in the Committee with several delegations wondering why there was a call for withdraw of the Motion at a stage when they were considering amendments to it.
The Deputy Speaker however, stated that there was no precedence set that can stop the retraction of the motion adding that the decision to support it is undermining the will of the people who vote for them.
“What is not prohibited in law is allowed. I have never seen anywhere in the world where a motion cannot be withdrawn. This is a question of sovereignty and the will of the people,” he added.
A delegate from Rwanda, Hon. Evariste Kalisa, supported the Deputy Speaker’s position arguing that the citizens of the ACP and EU can decide on presidential term limits but not through motions passed by a few representatives.
“Our European counterparts pointed out that they don’t have term limits because it is the will of the people. We cannot vote for what is not good for our people,” he said.
On the withdrawal of the Motion, Kalisa added that, “I cannot be embarrassed if I discovered that I made a mistake in the first place.”
The argument for withdraw of the motion was received with serious resentment from MPs from Mali and Nigeria who noted that re-instating presidential term limits would eliminate dictators especially on the African continent.
The two delegations then stated their position that they would vote with the European representatives when the matter is put to vote.
The final vote on the motion on term limits will be taken when the ACP and the EU representatives meet in a joint assembly on Wednesday, 21st December 2016.
The joint meeting of the two Committees on Political Affairs will however, meet before the vote is taken.
In the same meeting, the ACP Committee on Political Affairs called on President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia to respect the outcome of the recent elections and hand over power.
The Ugandan delegation in Nairobi included MPs Cecilia Ogwal (Dokolo), Juliet Kinyamatama (Rakai), Jack Wamanga-Wamai (Mbale Municipality) and William Nokrach (PWDs).